What is French Service: Advantages and Disadvantages of French Service

There are many ways in which food and beverages are served to customers in the catering industry. The French service style is one of them.

This may range from full silver service in a fine dining restaurant, where the dishes are served at the table by waiters with service spoons and forks, or to a self-service cafeteria where guests collect their own food from the counter.

What is French Service?

French service is a method of serving food. It is also known as Family service.

In this food serving style, large joints, roast poultry, whole fish, and so on, that have elaborate garnish, are neatly arranged on a platter, presented to the host, taken back to the sideboard, carved, portioned, and served to the guests with service spoon and fork.

After service, dishes are kept on a hot plate on the sideboard to keep them warm. Each course is served from the sideboard.

French Service Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of French Service

  • Service skills are not required.
  • Low labor cost.
  • Seat turnover is more compared to silver service.
  • Quick service.
  • No plate wastage.

Disadvantages of French Service

  • Service staff will not be able to demonstrate their service skills.
  • Food may go cold.
  • Guests may spill on the table.
  • Guests may feel neglected.

How to Serve French Service

In France, this French service is found in family pensions and banquets, where the dish is presented to each guest from the left-hand side to help himself /herself.

For a small party of two to three guests, dishes ordered by them are placed on the table with service implements and plates for the guests to help themselves. For larger parties of more than four guests, a side table or trolley can be used.

The waiter keeps plates, service tools, and dishes on the trolley /sideboard. He or she places plates on guests’ covers and then presents the dishes may be placed on the table and the host may serve all his guests at the table first or assist them in service and serve himself finally.

This French service table setup method is widely practiced in ethnic restaurants, especially in Chinese and Indian restaurants.

Indian bread and accompanying dishes are kept on the table for guests to help themselves. If assistance is required, the waiter may help the guests in passing and serving the dish.

This service is not practiced much in recent times. Guests in hotels at times call for the service of dishes in their rooms.

Their orders are taken by room service order takers, and dishes are arranged on a tray and served quickly. Orders can be collected either from the kitchen or floor pantry.


The styles of food service offered in catering establishments keep changing rapidly according to the changing environment in which it operates.

The level of service extended to customers in the past may not be enjoyed by present-day consumers. Nowadays, people need fast service as they are constantly on the move.

It is necessary for the operator to understand the environment in which he or she is operating in order to decide the service style.

It should be remembered that a food service area or restaurant can’t afford to stick rigidly to any one style of food service.

It may follow a combination of services. A number of hotels today prefer buffet service for all three meals, as service is quick and does not need more trained manpower.

Dipayan Mondal
Dipayan Mondal

Dipayan is the author of this blog. He completed his hotel management degree from GNIHM, Kolkata. And he is very passionate about the hospitality industry. And right now, he is working as a successful hotelier in a 5-star hotel.